K.T. Plantation Pvt. Ltd v. State of Karnataka

Name of the caseKT Plantation Pvt. Ltd. V. State of Karnataka
Citation(2011) 9 SCC 1
Year of the case2011
AppellantK.T. Plantation Pvt. Ltd. & Anr
RespondentState of Karnataka
Bench/Judges  S.H. Kapadia, Mukundakam Sharma, K.S. Radhakrishnan, Swatanter Kumar, Anil R. Dave
Acts Involved  The Land Acquisition Act 1894, The Constitution Of India 1949
Important Sections  Article 300A, Section 66 of Land Acquisition Act

Abstract

Over the last six decades, following Constitutional resolutions calling for social reform, the Supreme Court of India has created and re-established a right to property from very poor textual sources, several amendments to overturn main judgments, and even, over 1978, the abolition of the Central Constitutional provisions guaranteeing a right to property.

Also worth mentioning at this place is the modern judicial trend to interpret the right to property in the light of Article 21 of the Constitution on personal liberty. In a number of cases, the Apex Court has expressed the view that in its widest extent Article 21 covers a variety of rights which constitute a man’s personal freedom. Subsequently, despite the fact that the right to property has been overruled and revoked as a Fundamental Right, this right may still be interpreted by the Court as an aspect of personal freedom under Article 21.

Keywords

Property, Article 300A, Constitution, Section 66

Introduction

K.T. Plantation raises a further question about Article 300A. The case itself dealt with the exercise of land acquisition rights. In KT Plantation Private Ltd v. State of Karnataka, basically the ‘rule of law’ were questioning in India that it was prevailed in India and the court or not and also claimed in various ways that the purpose of Article 300 A was that ‘ a person cannot be deprived of his property merely by executive order, without any specific legal authority or without the protection of law which is done by the competent legislature. Article 300 A therefore protects private property from executive action but the question arises as to the degree to which their rights would be protected if they are tried to be unlawfully denied of their property by the force of the law. It must comply with other legal provisions. The restriction should not be subjective or unreasonable or beyond what is necessary in public interest not disproportionate to the condition and breach must be of such a serious nature that undermines the constitution’s very basic structure and our democratic principles.

Background of the case

Article 300A enables the state to put restrictions on the right to property by law. That law has to be reasonable. The legislation providing for deprivation of property under Article 300A must be a just, fair and reasonable. The case KT Plantation Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka (2011) 9 SCC 1, is a high-profile case whose judgement was given by the honorable Supreme Court of India. The constitutional bench consisted of S.H. Kapadia, Mukundakam Sharma, K.S. Radhakrishnan, Swatanter Kumar, Anil R. Dave.

Facts

A Russian born Dr. Svetoslav Roerich he was an internationally acclaimed painter, artist and recipient of many national and international awards and Smt. Devika Rani Roerich, the grandniece of Rabindranath Tagor had done great contributions towards the Indian Motion Pictures and Film Industry and also known as the “First Lady of the Indian Screen”

The Karnataka Legislative Assembly had passed the Roerich & Devika Rani Roerich Estate (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996 to acquire all lands and movable assets of the Roerich couple, who had developed the ‘Tataguni Estate’ which, included a house having paintings by Dr. Roerich. K.T. Plantations Private Limited had bought a portion of the lands held by the Roerich couple under a registered sale deed in the year 1991. It bought more land from Devika Rani in 1992, and were handed possession of the land immediately.

Issues

  1. Whether Section 110 of the Land Reforms Act is valid or not?
  2. How to deal with the constitutional validity of the Acquisition Act?
  3. Is there any claim for enhanced compensation and the scope of Article 300A of the Constitution?

Related Provisions

  1. Article 300A of Indian Constitution –“No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law”. Property rights are among the most controversial human rights, both in terms of their nature and understanding. The scope of the right to property as it is commonly known nowadays consists of property already owned or held, or of property obtained or to be obtained by a person by lawful means. Not in response but in relation to this, some ideas often propose a fundamental right to private property, in the sense of every person’s right to possess essentially a certain amount of land, based on a claim to the natural resources of Earth or certain theories of justice.
  2. Article 31 A – Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13, no law providing for (a) the acquisition by the State of any estate or of any rights therein or the extinguishment or modification of any such rights, or (b) the taking over of the management of any property by the State for a limited period either in the public interest or in order to secure the proper management of the property, or (c) the amalgamation of two or more corporations either in the public interest or in order to secure the proper management of any of the corporations. During pre-independence time, the zamindari system was prevalent. This system made the zamindars very wealthy with a large number of landholdings whereas, the peasants were left in financially deteriorating conditions.
  3. Article 31 B – In Article 31A, the Acts and Regulations referred to in the Ninth Schedule and any of its provisions shall be deemed invalid or null and void on the ground that that Act, regulation or provision is incompatible with any of the rights conferred by any provision of this Section, and notwithstanding any judgment that any decision or order of any court or tribunal to the contrary shall, subject to the authority of any Legislature competent to revoke or amend it, continue to apply each of the said Acts and Regulations.

Many issues resulting from the infringement of fundamental rights found in Part III of the Constitution have been eradicated since the adoption of Article 31A into the Constitution. Article 31B states that acts which are present in the ninth schedule and which are inconsistent with the provisions laid down in the Constitution or which defy any decision or order shall be left to the competent legislature to amend, revoke or allow it to take effect. Anything found in this Article shall not contradict any of the provisions of Article 31A.

Related Cases

Both the cases are using in this K.T Plantation case as an example of as that these two are related with direct to the regulation of land and acquisition

  1. Brij Sunder Kapoor v. I Additional District Judge and Ors[1] – In this Court held that the Parliament decided as a matter of policy that the cantonment areas in a State should be subject to the same legislation relating to control of rent and regulation of housing accommodation as in force in other areas of the State and this policy was given effect to by empowering the Central Government to extend to a cantonment area in a State the tenancy legislation as in force as in other areas of the State including future amendments and that there was no abdication of legislative functions by Parliament.
  2. I.C. Golaknath and Others v. State of Punjab,[2]. The validity of Articles 19(1)(f) and (g) was also the subject matter of In that case, a large portion of the lands of Golak Nath family was declared surplus under the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act 1953. They challenged the act on the grounds that it denied them their Constitutional Rights to acquire and hold property and practice any profession. Validity of Articles 19(1)(f) and (g), the 17th Amendment, the 1st Amendment and the 4th Amendment were also questioned. Chief Justice Subha Rao speaking for the majority said that the Parliament could not take away or abridge the Fundamental Rights and opined that those rights form `basic structure’ of the Constitution and any amendment to the Constitution can be made to preserve them, not to annihilate.

Judgement

The Bench upheld the sale of properties by film actress Devika Rani and her husband near Bangalore under the terms of the Devika Rani Roerich Estate (Acquisition & Transfer) Act, 1996 and Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961. It denied a series of appeals filed by K.T. Plantations Private Limited, which had purchased a part of the lands and others challenging the acquisition.

The Bench said: Even, if the foreign investor has no fundamental right, let them know, that the rule of law prevails in this country. Public reason is a pre-condition for removal of a person from his property under Article 300A and the right to demand compensation is also internal in that Article and when a person spends of his property, the State has to explain all the reasons which may depend on scheme of the statute, legislative policy, object and purpose of the legislature and other related factors. Statute, depriving a person of his property is, therefore, amenable to judicial review.

The Bench said: We dismiss all the appeals and order the notified authority under the Acquisition Act to disburse the amount of compensation fixed by the Act to the valid claimants in compliance with law, which will depend upon the outcome of the pending litigations between the parties. Further, we also order that the land acquired be utilized only for the purpose for which it was acquired

Concepts Highlighted

The right to property is closely linked to the right to live, which is known as a right to life, the right to live involves shelter and the same for the right to resist (Article 19(1)(e)), if we do not have the right to property as a fundamental right (an absolute right) then how can we receive security against deprivation.

A confusing combination of liberalization and social concern identifies Indian politics. Measures to protect the poor, such as Land Acquisition. Before Kesavananda era, those who seek to challenge progressive legislation are more likely to use the right to land. Whether this proves controversial, and whether the judges will find themselves blamed for a lack of progress on social justice, remains to be seen. Rule of law is not an absolute way of ensuring equality, human rights, justice, liberty and even democracy, because it all depends on the essence of the statute and the extent of the infringement. In other words, both ‘public purpose’ and ‘compensation’ have been ‘read into’ the language of Article 300A. This means reading Eminent Domain into Article 300-A. So basically, in a nutshell, the Land Acquisition Bill is still situated in a rural frame, envisaging transition to urban scenarios. It is also cognizant that such transitions would only happen where land is being acquired in predominantly rural areas.


[1] (1989) 1 SCC 561

[2] AIR 1967 SC 1643

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